I’m not gonna lie, I had a wonderful upbringing. I was raised by two wonderful parents that loved each other and were Jesus followers who strived to live it. I am blessed.
I grew up in the foothills of the Carolinas where I ran barefoot outside, climbed trees, had a pet goat, made mud pies, played in the woods and went to sleep with my window up just to hear the nightly concert of the crickets. I cherish those memories.
I left home for college at 18 and only returned for the summers and to get married in my front yard to my wonderful husband of 21 years in between our junior and senior year.
After college we moved and lived in several different places including Greenville, South Carolina; Orlando (5 months there counts, right?), Charleston, South Carolina; Madisonville, Kentucky; Tallahassee, Florida; Miami and then back to Tallahassee. Boy that was a lot of moving for a barefoot, tree climbing country girl, but I have loved every minute.
The part I have loved most has been God meeting me in each new place with a life lesson that he wrote upon my heart. Man, I love him. He’s been my one constant, never changing, always there. Holding my heart in the deepest sorrows and hurts and walking with me in unchartered places.
Early on God started showing me to hold things loosely in my heart. If I truly wanted to be led by him that means he comes first…his way, not mine.
God began and still is rearranging the furniture in my heart. Sometimes there are things we cherish too much. In all honesty, we value them more than we do God. It really can be anything…your spouse, children, possessions, your job….and the list goes on. It’s the thing you love a lot or feel you can’t live without.
None of these things are in themselves bad. They just need to be placed in the right position in our lives and hearts.
I’m reminded of Abraham (Genesis 22). I love his heart for God. He desired a son and God granted him one in his old age. God knew how much Abraham loved his son. But did Abraham now love the gift more than the giver. God was about to find out.
God spoke to Abraham’s heart. He was to now sacrifice the very gift God gave him. Boy, I know me…..I would have tried to ignore God and question that I heard him. I’d all the sudden become hard of hearing.
Abraham…..he listened, he trusted and he obeyed. He gathered his son, the supplies and started the journey up Mt. Moriah. I can not even fathom his thoughts as he walked hand in hand with his son. Was he at peace trusting God completely or was he struggling to walk this out.
As he bound his son, laid him on the altar and drew his knife God watched. He was watching his heart. Abraham truly trusted God.
At the last second God stopped him. He saw that Abraham loved the giver more than the gift. Abraham had been found trustworthy. God could now bless him knowing that he was faithful to the one who gave it all more than the gift itself.
I’ve always heard it said, God first, next family, then everything else. But in an effort to make God truly first, I encourage you to place God in his own category. With everything else in another. Why…..because that’s where he belongs. Nothing can compare to him. There’s not even a close second.
When you begin to place God where he truly belongs in your heart, he becomes your home. No matter where you live, the circumstances you find yourself in or the lack of true friends. Your heart is at home in him. There is no better place to be. Value the giver more than the gift!
When we come into a relationship with him we tend to add him into the mix of our lives. This is not how it’s supposed to be. For him to become our home he has to become our everything.
“You are my hiding place…” ~Psalm 32:7
We ask God to come into our lives and take up residence but we never cleared the old furniture out to make room for the him. We fill it with stuff (the gifts) that has no real value. We also fill it with hurt, anger, fear, dissappointments, and the expectations of others. None of which make your heart a place of rest and peace. Not one of these can bring lasting joy either!
Just as I felt loved and secure growing up in my home, I now say, “God, you are my home”.
If home is where the heart is, let your heart be found in him.